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-contributed by Emily Gainer & Jodi Kearns.

In 2010, the CCHP moved into the former Roadway building.  Over the past 9 years, renovations have been made to every floor of the building, and we’re excited to announce that renovations are complete!

The Drs. Nicholas A. and Dorothy M. Cummings Center for the History of Psychology is the home of the Archives of the History of American Psychology, the National Museum of Psychology, and the Institute for Human Science and Culture (IHSC).  The final renovations were completed on the 3rd and 4th floors, which house the IHSC. The IHSC is a multidisciplinary institute that promotes education and research in the history, preservation, documentation, and interpretation of the human experience. The mission of the IHSC is to explore the human condition through document/object-based, experiential education in arts, humanities, and science.

During the year-long renovations, we took photographs to document the changes and keep a record of our own history.  Here are before and after photographs:

Exterior upgrades, including window replacement and additional lighting, were a part of the renovations on the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology building.

 

The 3rd floor of the IHSC includes classroom spaces.  The Museums and Archives Certificate Program, along with other courses, will be taught here beginning Fall 2019.

 

The 3rd floor also includes a conference room.

 

One of the most interesting architectural elements of the building spans the 3rd and 4th floors. This atrium includes wall space suitable for exhibit installation.

 

An important part of the renovations was the addition of a stairway connecting the 3rd and 4th floors. Construction crews cut through the concrete between the floors and added this staircase.

 

A front view of the stairway.  Notice the reinforcement and construction supports in the before photograph.  Lots of planning went into this architectural element!

 

The 4th floor of the IHSC includes two gallery spaces that are open to the public.  A reception desk was added and sits immediately off the elevator.

 

Reclaimed barn wood from Pennsylvania was used throughout the 3rd and 4th floors.  It was incorporated into the wall details and used to create unique benches for extra seating.

 

The 4th floor library is already open to the public on Wednesdays (11am-4pm) and Thursdays (11am-8pm) where the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection and the Brozek Slavic and Germanic Language Cultural Books are available for use and research. Soon, other key collections of the IHSC will be relocated into the 3rd floor stacks, including the Jim and Vanita Oelschlager Native American Ethnographic Collection and the Lee L. Forman Collection of Bags.

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contributed by Lizette R. Barton.

Like countless others I considered Dr. Joseph White a mentor and a friend and I was heartbroken to learn of his sudden passing in November. Joe White changed my life. He truly, honestly changed the course of my life and I will be forever grateful to him. I know that many of us have Joe White stories – stories of friendship, mentorship, inspiration, and education. I’d like to take this opportunity to share mine.

In 2003 I was a third year undergraduate psychology major at The University of Akron and I was enrolled in the History of Psychology course. David Baker, now my colleague but at the time just my professor for the course, invited Joe White to speak to our class.

joe white 2007

Joe White addressing Dave Baker’s History of Psychology class in 2007

He was insightful and his lecture was thought provoking. I think we can all agree that he was an incredible public speaker who could totally command an audience. At one point in his talk he mentioned the book Even the Rat was White by Robert Guthrie. I headed to the library directly after class and got that book and read it that night. I know this sounds totally cliche but as a white girl who grew up in a very rural, very white community Joe’s lecture and that book were a watershed moment. I quickly learned there is no “the history” but rather “a history” and oftentimes people are silenced and omitted from “the” history so many of us learn about in school.

Dr. Baker encouraged me to contact Dr. White and we quickly struck up a friendship. He wrote me letters of recommendation for graduate school and when I didn’t get in and was heartbroken he helped me reevaluate and realize that I had a real passion for history and archives so maybe not getting into a psychology graduate program wasn’t the worst thing on earth.

As a student assistant in the archives, and later a part-time staff member, I was assigned to process the Robert V. Guthrie manuscript papers and Joe offered to help fund my travel to Hollywood, CA in 2005 in order to see Dr. Guthrie recognized as an elder at the National Multicultural Conference and Summit. My favorite memory from the trip was sharing Manhattans and laughs seated between Dr. Guthrie and Dr. White at the hotel bar. They were impressed I could hold my alcohol “for a country girl” and I wore that as a badge of honor.

We stayed in touch for years and  would make a point to get together for drinks or dinner during his many trips to Akron for UA’s annual Black Male Summit.

By 2007 I was a full-time staff member at the Cummings Center. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity for free UA classes and enrolled in Dr. Zach Williams’ History of Hip Hop class. The topic of the “generational gap” came up again and again in course lectures and readings and when it came time to complete a final project I knew I had to talk to Joe.

The following audio clip was part of my final project for the class. I recorded my interview with Joe and then put some of his words to music. It’s “not safe for work” in that it contains explicit language but Joe’s words are powerful and I am just as inspired by them now as I was then.

Rest easy, Joe. And keep the faith.

 

 

 

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– contributed by Cate Conley, Museums & Archives Certificate student.

 

“We shape our buildings, therefore they shape us.” – Winston Churchill

 

When looking at the buildings that make up The University of Akron, most people will immediately recognize the newer structures on campus, such as Infocision Stadium, the Student Union, Stile Athletics Field House, and the new dorms.  But, not many people think of the buildings that existed on campus before they were considered University property and their roles in shaping not only The University of Akron, but the community of Akron, Ohio as a whole.  As students, faculty, and staff at the University or as members of the community, we have an obligation to ourselves and to those who have yet to experience Akron, to participate in the discussion of what shapes us… what shapes our city.

On May 7, 2016 from 3-5pm students will hold an opening reception to unveil an exhibit within the Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Special Collections showcase titled The University of Akron Repurposes Akron History: Polsky’s, Quaker Square, Roadway, & St. Paul’s. The exhibition highlights the significance and value of these buildings to the University, the community, and Akron’s history. The exhibition opening is free to the public, so come visit and tell us what you think! We ask you to participate in the conversation of preservation  and the adaptive reuse of these historical buildings.  Their continued use and/or demolition shapes our future not just as students, but as members of this community.

This exhibit opens during with May’s Akron Art Walk and will be available for viewing during the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Main Library (60 S. High Street, Akron, OH 44326) from May 7 through August 21, 2016. You can visit during regular library hours.

[This exhibit is designed and installed by students participating in the Museums and Archives certificate program run by the Institute of Human Science and Culture (IHSC) at the Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (CCHP). For more information about enrolling in the program, please contact Dr. Jodi Kearns, jkearns@uakron.edu.]

Postcard_rev_Page_1

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-Contributed by Vanessa Facemire. 

Ever wonder what your personality says about you? Well, there’s a test for that. What about your IQ or achievement? There’s a test for that too. Would you like to be able to have someone tell you what career to choose? Well, you’re in luck because there’s a test for that too! For more than a century, psychologists have designed and administered tests and measures to assess many different kinds of human abilities and characteristics.

The history of psychological testing is long and varied. It has roots in ancient China; where the emperor instated proficiency testing on topics such as civil law and fiscal policies for public officials. From phrenology to vocational testing, scientists and practitioners have been fascinated with developing new ways to “measure the mind”. Historically, psychological tests have been used in very diverse ways across a variety of settings.

IMLS_Logo_BlackThe Cummings Center for the History of Psychology is featuring a new exhibit called “Measuring the Mind” that showcases some early ways that psychologists have measured different abilities and characteristics. Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the “Museums for America” program, the exhibit gives visitors a chance to see and interact with tests and measures dating from the nineteenth century to the present.

The exhibit features a 1921 home economics test for 8th grade girls that measures knowledge of “household arts” such as clothing care and repair, childcare, and budgeting. The 1919 Woodsworth Personal Data Sheet, which measures potential emotional difficulties among WWI recruits, was specifically designed to identify soldiers who might be at risk for shell shock, which we now know as post-traumatic stress disorder. A black-and-white 1935 film depicting the different tests used to measure mechanical aptitude among potential employees is also highlighted.

Intro

The exhibit also features a variety of interactive displays. Want to test your mental acuity? Check out the weights discrimination test used in the nineteenth and early twentieth century as a way of examining the relationship between the physical world and the mental world.

Weights

Do you wonder about your motor learning ability? Check out the finger maze, developed in 1928, used to select employees for jobs requiring fine motor skills.

Finger Maze 2

Want to measure your intelligence? Check out the form board intelligence test from the nineteenth century and time yourself to see how quickly you can complete the board. Form boards were used in a variety of situations including: measuring mental capacity and nonverbal intelligence in children, as part of a battery of tests used on immigrants at Ellis Island, and during WWI to test intelligence among illiterate recruits.

Form Board 1

Visitors can also test their intelligence through the Army Alpha interactive display. Developed in WWI, the Army Alpha was the first intelligence test designed to be administered to large groups. This test was used to test new army recruits and by the end of the war, more than 1 million recruits had been tested.

Army Alpha

For more information about these tests and many more pay a visit to the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology to check out our “Measuring the Mind” exhibit. You can also schedule a research visit to examine our vast collection of psychological tests and measures.

 

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– Contributed by Rhonda Rinehart

We mourn the sudden and terrible loss of Narcisse Blood and his colleagues on February 10, 2015.  Narcisse became a friend of the CCHP back in 2006 when he took part in the “Abraham Maslow and The Blackfoot Experience” two-day conference hosted by CCHP.

Narcisse immediately captured us with his dedication to broadening understanding of the Blackfoot way of life and his deep sincerity in doing so – from explaining Blackfoot storytelling practices to the importance of repatriation efforts.  His determination, sincerity and passion for cultural research were tempered with a sense of humor and warmth that will not soon be forgotten.

Blackfoot Announcement Flier revised

Our hearts go out to Narcisse’s family and friends, his professional acquaintances and all of those in the Blackfoot community who have lost a talented and generous comrade.

narcisse_blood_wm

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– Contributed by Adam Beckler.

Richard Walk (1920-1999) is best known for his research with the visual cliff, which he invented in collaboration with Eleanor J. Gibson. However, Walk had a curious mind and a wide range of interests that extended well beyond the visual cliff. The full scope of his work is documented in the Richard D. Walk papers, which are now open for research at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology.

Richard D. Walk, 1960s

Richard D. Walk, 1960s

The visual cliff apparatus, developed by Walk and Gibson at Cornell University in the 1960s, was used to study depth perception in humans and animals. The visual cliff created the illusion of a cliff by connecting transparent glass to an opaque patterned surface. On one side of the apparatus, the patterned cloth is immediately below the glass, and on the other side it is several feet below the glass. Walk’s experiments studied depth perception in human infants and a variety of animal species by examining the factors that determined whether or not the subject would cross the threshold of the “cliff.”

Baby on Visual Cliff

Baby on Visual Cliff

Goat on Visual Cliff

Goat on Visual Cliff

Interested in all kinds of visual perception, Walk studied how humans perceived emotion in body language. He conducted experiments in which the subjects would try to identify emotions based on body language alone.

Emotion Perception Image

Emotion Perception Image

Emotion Perception Image

Emotion Perception Image

Walk, an Army veteran, also studied fear and anxiety in Army paratroopers during test jumps. Not content to take a hands-off approach to his research, Walk himself performed a test jump in order to fully understand the process.

The Richard D. Walk papers contain research and writing on a wide variety of subjects, including depth perception, art perception, emotion perception, fear and anxiety in paratroopers and athletes before competition, as well as experiments in wine tasting. The papers also document Walk’s time as a professor and student mentor, his published works, and his correspondence with other psychologists. Search the finding aid for more information.

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Contributed by Emily Gainer.

Werner Wolff (1904-1957) was a man of many interests – psychology, anthropology, graphology, and religion. Gordon W. Allport wrote to Wolff on March 24, 1952: “In fact, I think you are the broadest-gauged psychologist alive” (Box M4845, Folder 4). Wolff’s research and writing in these areas are documented in the Werner Wolff papers, which are now open for research at the CHP.

 

Werner Wolff portrait, 1944.  Box M4844, Folder 1.

Werner Wolff portrait, 1944. Box M4844, Folder 1.

Wolff was born in Germany and completed his doctorate under Max Wertheimer at the University of Berlin in 1930. He was a Lecturer of Psychology at the University of Barcelona and Madrid from 1933-1936, before coming to the United States in 1939. Wolff taught at Bard College in New York from 1942 until his death in 1957.

Wolff’s German passport. Wolff left Germany in 1933.  Box M4844, Folder 2.

Wolff’s German passport. Wolff left Germany in 1933. Box M4844, Folder 2.

 

Wolff may be most remembered as the originator of experimental depth psychology. His first book in English was The Expression of Personality: Experimental Depth Psychology (1943). Additionally, he studied expressions and graphic form, specifically that unconscious movements and handwriting are keys to an individual’s personality. He also translated the hieroglyphics of the ancient natives of Easter Island and the Mayans.

 

Wolff studied “forms of expression (expressions of personality)”, part of which was to take a person’s portrait, then split the portrait down the middle and reverse half the face.  The new portrait of the person’s “right” and “left” face was shown to the person, who was asked which face he preferred.  This type of study reached a general audience when it was covered in Life magazine on January 18, 1943.

Wolff studied “forms of expression (expressions of personality)”, part of which was to take a person’s portrait, then split the portrait down the middle and reverse half the face. The new portrait of the person’s “right” and “left” face was shown to the person, who was asked which face he preferred. This type of study reached a general audience when it was covered in Life magazine on January 18, 1943.

 

Wolff’s research and involvement in the psychology field brought him in contact with some notable individuals. For example, the papers contain correspondence with art and artists, such as Langston Hughes, Louise Bogan (Poet Laureate), and Archibald MacLeish (Pulitzer Prize winner).

 

A letter from Langston Hughes to Wolff, 1951. Box M4869, Folder 4.

A letter from Langston Hughes to Wolff, 1951. Box M4869, Folder 4.

 

Letter from Vice President Richard Nixon responding to Wolff’s proposal for an Inter-American Institute of Psychology, 1957. Box M4898, Folder 2.

Letter from Vice President Richard Nixon responding to Wolff’s proposal for an Inter-American Institute of Psychology, 1957. Box M4898, Folder 2.

 

Wolff placed this 1955 letter from Helen Keller in a folder titled, “Handwriting”.  One of Wolff’s main areas of study was how handwriting and signature relate to one’s personality. Box M4857, Folder 4.

Wolff placed this 1955 letter from Helen Keller in a folder titled, “Handwriting”. One of Wolff’s main areas of study was how handwriting and signature relate to one’s personality. Box M4857, Folder 4.

 

For more information about the contents of the Werner Wolff papers, search the finding aid. Please contact us to view the manuscript materials.

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